West Berkshire Brewery began it’s journey through the lands of grains, hops, water and yeast back in 1995, initially in the sleepy village of Frilsham, Berkshire. Winning awards from their first year of business, the brewery quickly outgrew it’s tiny premises and opened a brewing plant in nearby Yattendon, where operations continue to this day, along with regular growth and capacity increases.
Their range of output since 1995 has been vast and all-encompassing, with hundreds of beers of various styles flowing from the brewery either under their own brand or for various other produces. But it was not until March 2020 that the company unveiled it’s first alcohol-free beers. The WBB ‘Solo’ range began with Solo Pale, and quickly went on to include Solo Peach Pale and Solo Pilsner. In this review we’ll be tasting the Pilsner. This style of lager originates from Bavaria and tends to be more on the bitter side, with stronger more earthy tastes than a standard lager. It also tends to be a style that translates well to the alcohol-free world. Solo Pilsner proclaims on the side of it’s can that WBB has gone to the trouble of brewing this in Bavaria instead of their native Berkshire. Does this mean that the classic pilsner flavours have been preserved for us?
Pouring from the can we get a golden straw coloured liquid with medium carbonation, and a decent sized white head foams up, and ends up being our companion for the majority of the drinking session. On the nose we get a good amount of leafy Saaz hops aroma mingling with some lighter malt sweetness. Very crisp, and certainly reminiscent of standard full strength ABV pilsners.
With our initial sip we get some hop bitterness which quickly progresses to a mild sweetness with light malt flavours. The bitterness remains on the tip of the tongue and the lips and is pleasantly crisp. The malt flavours dull as the drink continues, but bitterness remains and the beer retains a fair amount of body, finishing with some clean citrus. Whilst recognisable as a pilsner, this shares some similarities with a Helles-style lager.
The traditional pilsner flavours and aromas are certainly there in WBB Solo Pilsner, and it’s without fail the best AF pilsner I’ve tried. West Berkshire Brewery haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, but have produced a fine lager which just happens to be alcohol-free. I’m sure for the average beer drinker this would pass for a full-strength beer, which is a testament to it’s quality.
Nutritional Information (per 100ml)
0.5% alcohol by volume
Other nutritional information is not published, neither on the can nor on the brewer’s website.
Water, Malted Barley, Wheat, Hops, Yeast
(taken from the side of the can)
WBB Solo Alcohol Free Pilsner Review
A great non-alcoholic pilsner lager, with all the flavours you’d expect, offering an authentic Bavarian drinking experience in my opinion.